By Dave Boling The News Tribune
SAN FRANCISCO — The goal of the San Francisco defense was to get Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson off the playground.
That was the term some of the San Francisco defenders used to describe the improvisational jaunts Wilson takes once plays start to break down.
So often in his two seasons, Wilson has been most dangerous when forced to scramble to buy second chances.
“He can make a play out of nothing,” said San Francisco safety Donte Whitner. “So when he starts to scramble, his guys understand what playground football is.”
In the 19-17 loss to San Francisco, Wilson finished hitting 15 of 25 passes for 199 yards, his 81.9 passer rating the lowest in five games.
Whitner explained how the Niners had scouted his play when things break down.
“The guys that go deep come back for the ball; the guys who are short, go deep,” Whitner said. “We did a good job of containing him today and we did a good job of taking away that playground football from them, and that’s why we came away with the win.”
Wilson has led nine game-winning drives in his two seasons. It looked as if he had another one secured as the Hawks made it down into San Francisco territory and faced first down at the Niners 15. Two short runs preceded an incomplete pass on third down to leave the Hawks to settle for a field goal rather than a touchdown.
San Francisco then drove downfield to take the lead with a short field goal.
The third-down route to Jermaine Kearse was well covered, and Wilson felt he needed to be cautious.
He needed to “try to make the smart decision, to not force anything,” he said. “We have a field goal and it will give us the lead, so that was kind of the decision there.”
Nine Seahawks penalties disrupted the play, Wilson said.
Wilson had a humbling game in San Francisco as a rookie, completing just nine passes. “I think since I was here last time I’ve learned so much, and I’m so much more composed.”
With an 11-2 record, the Seahawks are still in control of their division, and have four more games to earn homefield advantage.
“This may be a good time to let us get back to work and let us continue to focus,” Wilson said, considering the loss a reminder. “All our goals are still in front of us. We’ve got a tough challenge next week going to New York, so we know that will be a good game and we’re excited about that.
“We’re still I great position,” he added. “And we still need to be positive. Obviously, this loss really hurts, but at the same time, we want to keep moving on and look forward to the next opportunity.”